Assault & Battery
Assault and battery happens in the workplace where there are fights, usually physical violence or threats of physical violence, between employees and supervisors or between two employees. Assault and battery are two separate claims that employees can bring against their employer.
What is assault?
The "legal" definition of assault is different from how the word is normally used in everyday language. According to the legal definition, assault occurs when a person demonstrates the intent to hurt you and you believe that you will be hurt—no actual contact or physical injury is necessary. For example, an assault occurs if a supervisor raises his or her hand in a forceful manner toward you and you reasonably believe that you are about to be hit.
What is battery?
Unlike assault, battery requires the actual use of force. It occurs when a person intentionally and harmfully touches you without your consent. A person acts intentionally if his or her action was on purpose, regardless of whether he or she actually intended to harm you with his or her action. For example, if your supervisor purposely slaps you, he or she has committed battery even if he or she did not intend to actually hurt you.
Note that battery claims in the employment context frequently appear in sexual harassment cases. Sexual harassment is a form of battery. In the workplace, this might happen if a supervisor inappropriately touches an employee without the employee's consent.